Late late strikes snatches victory away from Sligo seniors in 2024 hurling opener.

Back 02/01/2024 @ 10:31 | hurlingnews | Late late strikes snatches victory away from Sligo seniors in 2024 hurling opener.

Sligo’s hurlers suffered an agonising last gasp defeat in the opening round of this year’s Connacht Hurling Leage when an eight point added time Roscommon salvo (2-2) saw an advantage they had held for almost all of the game dramatically overturned.

The men in black racked up a fine total of 2-23 and led by four poiunts going into added time of a fast moving encounter played in Connacht GAA’s University of Galway Air Dome at Bekan.

It was a harsh outcome for the Yeats County side whose performance leaves much to look forward to in the season ahead. New Manager Stephen Shiels saw a spirited and skilful performance from his side who have yet to welcome back most of their Easkey contingent whose club championship campaign only finished two weeks ago.

The game was also notable for the appearance together on the field for the first time of five brothers in a Sligo intercounty side when Naomh Eoin’s Robert O’Kelly Lynch entered as a second half substitute joining his older siblings Gerard, Tony, Fergal and Liam.

Robert was one of five debutants on the evening who had featured in Sligo’s 2022 Celtic Challenge (U17) winning campaign – the others being with Drumcliffe Rosses Point’s Donnchadh O’Brien, Coolera Strandhill pair Oisín Hennessy and Jack Feeney and Easkey’s Adam Rolston.  

Sligo started off the evening on the front foot with Gerard O’Kelly Lynch, returning to the hurling side after a year playing with Sligo’s footballers, opening the scoring with a fine point from play. Roscommon equalised almost immediately with a Paddy Fallon free, the first of a 1-10 haul for the Oran man.

Debutant Donnchadh O’Brien restored the Sligo advantage and it was the men in black that set the pace over the first half hour with three further points from O’Kelly Lynch (two from frees), two from his brother Tony and a point each from Michael Munnelly and Rory McHugh bringing the score to 0-9 to 0-8 with five minutes to the break.

Roscommon midfielder Mickey Joe Egan then hit an equalising point before a long range Paddy Fallon shot fortuitously found the net to give his side the lead for the first time. The same player quickly extended rgwie advantage to 1-10 to 0-9 with a pointed free.

Sligo hit back in style however and finished out the half strongly. Firstly, Gerard O’Kelly Lynch pointed from play and then# Tomás Cawley pointed superbly from a tight angle after  he gathered a long range delivery from McHugh. O’Kelly Lynch then found the net to raise Sligo’s first green flag and put his side back in front.

Egan hit a superb long-range point to equalise but points from a Gerard O’Kelly Lynch free, Munnelly and Tony O’Kelly Lynch, all in added time, opened up a three point gap for Sligo. Fallon had the last word at the other end with a point to leave just two between the sides at the break – 1-14 to 1-12 in favour of the Yeats men.


On the resumption Egan restored parity for Roscommon with two quick points but the Sligo men hit back quickly when  Donnchadh O’Brien hit their second goal to put them three ahead again 2-14 to 1-14 after 37 minutes.

They held the advantage throughout a lower scoring second half with Tony O’Kelly Lynch adding three points from play, his brother Gerard adding one from play and three frees and one point each from Tomas Cawley and Brian Shannon to stand four points ahead – 2-23 to 1-22 as four minutes added time was called.

Disaster then struck for Sligo as first Egan and then sub Sean Canning hit goals in successive moves for Roscommon to give then the advantage as the clock ran down.

Despite their best efforts the Sligo men couldn’t work into scoring range, and it was left to Roscommon full forward Robbie Fallon to apply the finishing touch with a sublime point from a sideline cut with the last puck of the game to give his side a 3-23 to 2-23 victory.


Sligo: Michael O’Callaghan; Cian Flynn, Conor Griffin, Oisín Hennessy; Donal Keaveney, Rory McHugh (0-1), Liam O’Kelly Lynch; Michael Munnelly (0-2), Brian Shannon (0-1); Donnchadh O’Brien (1-1), Tony O’Kelly Lynch (0-6), Darragh Flynn (0-1); Tomas Cawley (0-2), Gerard O’Kelly Lynch (1-9, 0-7f), Fergal O’Kelly Lynch

Subs: Robert O’Kelly Lynch for Hennessy (HT), Eddie O’Donoghue for F O’Kelly Lynch (46 min), Adam Rolston for Darragh Flynn (56 min), Jack Feeney for L O’Kelly Lynch (70 min)

Roscommon Enda Lawless; Mark Ward, James Dillion, Thomas Fleming; Micheál Hussey, Jimmy Hoey, Jack Dowling (0-1); Mickey Joe Egan (1-8), Darragh Finn (0-1, Liam Og Murray, Adam Donnelly, Paddy Fallon (1-10  0-8 f); Cathal Geraghty (0-1), Robbie Fallon (0-1 s/l), Cormac Mulry

Subs: Darragh Mullen for Hussey inj (5min), Sean Canning (1-1) for Mulry (HT), Chulain Dowd for Donnelly (HT), Cathal Crehan for Geraghty (58 min), Finn Killion for Hoey (63 min), Jack Naughton for P Fallon (70 min)


Referee Conor Quinlan (Galway)